Capon suggests we read the Bible the same way. Rather than stopping at every bit we don’t quite understand, we should keep reading to get the big picture. Only once we have the complete story will we be able to appreciate how the different parts help build the story to its climax.
As an example Capon suggests we will never fully understand the meaning of “beginning” in the first sentence in the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) without seeing it in relationship to the first words in John’s gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). And neither will we understand it without reading the last chapter of the Bible where Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13).
What this tells us is that the Son of God was there at the beginning as the creator, he is there in the middle, as the redeemer of his creation, and he is there at the end to bring the story to its right and complete end. In other words, God the scriptwriter had the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, as the focus of the story from the beginning. The incarnation was not an afterthought.
Although problems can start when creation goes astray, God, in Christ, never loses control. It is kept on track as God opts to run the world by entering it and becoming part of it. As a human being, the incarnate Word confronts his rebellious creation and allows evil to play its ugly hand. The result is that the Son of God dies only to be raised from the dead, and save all of creation in the process.
This is indeed a mystery, but it is the heart of God’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). Once we begin to appreciate the whole story we can start to make sense of statements such as, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Ephesians 1:4) or that Jesus is, “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).
We all enjoy a good film that has a happy ending. May God help us to “watch” the Bible as a movie and appreciate the mystery of Christ and how he is at work and is behind every scene from beginning to end, including our lives.
Stephen L Baxter